Q&A – Chinese Medicine

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Most people who have had acupuncture would describe it as virtually painless or far less painful than plucking out a hair. The sensations that follow, range from nothing at all, to mild tingling, to slight heaviness or aching moving up and down the channels/meridians, to electrical pulsations in areas distant from the site of insertion. All these sensations usually subside once the needles have been in place for a while or are removed. The needles used for acupuncture are typically not much thicker than a strand of hair, do not draw blood and are solid, not hollow. Many people find acupuncture very relaxing.

How Many Treatments will it Take to Treat My Condition?

This depends on the duration, severity and nature of your complaint. Many acute conditions will be alleviated in 2-5 treatments. Chronic and or degenerative conditions may require a longer course of treatment needing 1-3 treatments/week. The patient’s attitude, determination, & compliance with diet, lifestyle, exercise regimes & Chinese herbal medicine & supplement recommendations will help to increase the efficacy and outcome of a course of treatment.

What is Chinese Medicine Good For?

Chinese medicine is a complete medical system which attempts to treat the full range of diseases, acute and chronic, traumatic, infectious, and internally generated. That being said, if a disease is extremely virulent or far advanced, and especially if there are serious changes in organic tissue, Chinese medicine by itself is sometimes not powerful enough or too slow. In particular, Chinese Medicine is an excellent and effective choice at the beginning of any disease which modern Western medicine either does not understand or for which it has no effective treatment. Furthermore, Chinese can also speed up the healing process when used in conjunction with modern Western medicine.

Is Chinese Medicine Safe?

Very. When practiced correctly by trained, qualified professional practitioners, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are extremely safe. In fact, when practiced correctly, they have no side effects and produce no iatrogenic or doctor caused disease. If a patient reports side effects from a Chinese medical treatment, the practitioner modifies the treatment until there is healing without side effects. This is because Chinese medicine seeks to restore balance to the entire person, not just a piece or part. Side effects mean there is an imbalance which needs to be corrected.

Is Chinese Medicine just a system of Folk healing?

No. This system has been created by some of the best educated and brightest scholars in Chinese history. These scholars have recorded their theories and clinical experiences from generation to generation in literally thousands of books. It is estimated that there are between 30,000-40,000 books on Chinese medicine still in existence that were written before the turn of the century. Since then, thousands more books and articles in professional journals have been written and published in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

How does the Chinese medical practitioner determine what is out of Balance?

Practitioners of Chinese medicine diagnose what is out of balance in a person’s body by employing four basic examinations. The first is questioning about one’s signs and symptoms, medical history, and course of disease/illness. The second is visually inspecting one’s face, body and especially one’s tongue and its coating. The third is listening to one’s voice and the sound of one’s breathing, as well as, smelling any odors emanating from one’s body or excretions. And the fourth is palpating various areas of the body, such as the abdomen, and especially the pulse at both wrists. Using a combination of one’s signs and symptoms, tongue diagnosis, pulse diagnosis and possibly abdominal palpation diagnosis, the practitioner can determine the pattern of disharmony which requires rebalancing.

How is this Rebalancing accomplished?

If something in the body is too hot, the practitioner seeks to cool it down. If something in the body is too cool, they try to warm it up. If something is too ‘wet’, they try to dry it, while if something in the body is too dry, they try to moisten it. If something is too much, they try to make it less. And if something is too little, they try to build it up. If something is stuck, they try to move it, and if something is flowing inappropriately, they try to make it flow in the appropriate direction and in the appropriate amount.

How are practitioners Trained and Licensed in the US?

In the United States, most practitioners of Chinese medicine are licensed or certified as acupuncturists by their state Department of Regulatory Agencies. In addition, practitioners who follow their names with the abbreviations Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C.H., Dipl. O.M. are Nationally board certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and Oriental medicine respectively and have had over 2,500 hours of professional training. Chinese medicine as a system is extremely complicated and extensive. It is not just a group of techniques that can be added to some other health care profession. Just as one does not call an electrician to fix their plumbing, one should only seek treatment from professionally trained and qualified practitioners of Chinese Medicine.

*Note: Some of the above information is resourced from Blue Poppy Press